Tonight the 20’s & 30’s group at my church met. I love the folks in this group. They are funny and uplifting. Our conversation sometimes drifts FAR off topic, but at the heart we are all trying to figure out how to follow Jesus.
Which is exactly what tonight’s conversation was about. We watched Francis Chan’s BASIC video entitled “Follow Jesus.” It was an interesting, and (at least for me) surprisingly challenging video. Chan argues that Christians often get it wrong – we often think that following Jesus is something we can do ‘in our heart,’ instead of with real, concrete actions. He uses the example of the childhood game “Follow The Leader.” You can’t play that game by sitting there motionlessly saying “Oh, I’m doing the Leader’s action in my heart.”
He also states that figuring out how to follow Jesus is easy. Just do the things he did and talked about: feed the poor, forgive the people you’re mad at, do nice things for your enemies.
On the one hand, Chan is right. Those things are simple. In theory, at least – because on the other hand, it’s really tough to actually DO those things. Maybe my heart is hard or I am too stubborn, but I don’t WANT to forgive people who make me mad. I want to complain about them and avoid them. Feeding the poor isn’t so difficult, unless the truth is that I’m not doing enough of it. Then it could become very difficult. And don’t get me started on doing nice things for my enemies.
I guess the thing is – this video hit me after a day in which I heard God calling me to an action I don’t want to do. It will be a good thing, it will make me a stronger individual, it has the potential to heal some hurts, and I am willing to bet it will draw me closer to God. But it will also be difficult, awkward, and perhaps painful. I’d rather just avoid it. Sometimes The Way is hard…sometimes following Jesus comes at a great price.
Which I guess begs the question: then why do it? Well, as Chan puts it, where else am I going to go? If Jesus is really the way, the truth and the life, then going a different direction means going away from the way, the truth and the life. I don’t want that. I want abundant life, I want the things God promises, I want the life Jesus dreams of for me.
But sometimes, I wish it didn’t have to cost so much. That is my confession.